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pretoria, south africa. >> reporter: four days of arguments, and raw emotion came down to this. finally, a ruling on whether oscar pistorius would be released on bail. coming only after a two-hour explanation by the judge. >> i come to the conclusion that -- >> reporter: long, dramatic pause. >> the accused has made a case to be released on bail. >> yes! >> reporter: pistorius broke down sobbing, shaking. his family held hands in prayer. >> we are relieved that the -- the fact that oscar got bail today. but at the same time, we are in mourning for the death of reeva, with her family. we know that that is the truth. and that will prevail. >> reporter: a friend of reeva steenkamp was also in court. >> and we pray that justice will prevail.
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and we still are just very sad that -- we need to remember that somebody has lost their life. >> reporter: pistorius, looking composed as he left the courthouse, was chased by a throng of photographers. there are conditions to his freedom, including a $114,000 bond. pistorius must also surrender his passports, guns, can't use drugs or alcohol, can't return to his home, the scene of the shooting. must ask permission to leave his town and has to check in with police twice a week. the world was watching today as it watched pistorius make olympic history last summer. outside the courthouse, a crowd gathered. >> maybe it was out of anger. but i think he should be granted bail. he's not a monster. >> i don't think he deserves bail at all. >> reporter: today, a newly free pistorius was running from cameras, still facing trial and due back in court in june. michelle kosinski, nbc news, pretoria. lance armstrong faces serious new legal trouble
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tonight. the justice department has joined one of his former racing teammates, suing him for using performance enhancing drugs during the tour de france. nbc news justice correspondent pete williams in our washington newsroom with more on this story tonight. pete, good evening. >> reporter: brian, the justice department claims lance armstrong was cheating the federal government when he raced in the tour de france on a team sponsored by the u.s. postal service. the government today joined a lawsuit that had been filed earlier by one of his teammates, floyd landis. it says armstrong violated a strict ban on illegal drugs, all the while claiming he never used them. the government says armstrong and his team owners cheated the postal service out of at least $30 million that it paid to sponsor his racing team. but armstrong's lawyers say tonight the postal service's own study show it benefited tremendously from its sponsorship, benefits totalling more than $100 million. the justice department says lance armstrong's confessional television interview will be a factor as this goes forward,
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brian. >> pete williams in d.c. for us tonight. pete, thanks. now to that huge winter storm that left parts of the midwest buried in snow overnight. it's all headed northeast now with new england looking at its third weekend in a row with significant precipitation and high winds. nbc's john yang in chicago covering for us. >> reporter: across the midwest, the day after the storm brought more treacherous travel. in iowa, a tractor-trailer lost control and was split in two by a bus carrying a college softball team. amazingly, no serious injuries. overnight, icy roads in indiana sent cars skidding, leading officials to close schools. and this morning in detroit -- >> this was one nasty morning commute. >> reporter: flying is not much better. in cleveland, a flight from ft. lauderdale slid off a runway while taxiing to the terminal. in wichita yesterday, a plane got stuck on an unplowed taxiway for two hours.
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passengers took it all in stride. >> everybody was in really good spirits. we all chatted, and had a good time. >> reporter: at the st. louis airport, stranded passengers stretched out on the floor. in the plain states, the storm left some impressive snowfalls. 9.2 inches in kansas city. 14.2 in wichita, kansas. the most there in 50 years. and a foot and a half in nashville, kansas. and this is all heading east. >> it looks like this storm is going to be a warmer one, though, for places like new york city and philadelphia. probably all rain along the coast. but for boston, a very tricky forecast we could indeed have at least 6 inches of snow. >> reporter: in chicago late today, a dog was spotted jumping between chunks of ice in lake michigan. after several tense minutes, a man on a kayak was able to steer it safely to shore. this was chicago's heaviest snowfall in more than a year. and across the midwest, there
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were four deaths blamed on the storm. three of them from traffic accidents. brian? >> john yang in chicago for us tonight. john, thanks. the storm this weekend will hit a lot of the same folks already hit by hurricane sandy. up and down the east coast, almost four months ago. and today, the last of the towns completely shut down due to storm damage finally reopened for homeowners to return. the town of mantoloking is a spit of land surrounded by water, but mostly covered by water during the storm. the ocean met the bay at the height of it. every single one of the more than 500 homes in town was damaged. nbc's stephanie gosk is with us tonight from there. stephanie, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. well, the total sandy price tag for the state of new jersey is $37 billion. and a good chunk of that comes from here in mantoloking. the clean-up has just begun, let alone the rebuilding. mantoloking residents can
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finally come back home, but very few will be able to. only a handful returned today. more than half of the houses in this small beachside community were totally destroyed by sandy. what remains in some cases looks untouched. children's toys, sofas and beds with the sheets still tucked in. the storm cut mantoloking in two pieces. the ocean broke through to the bay. now the road is passable, but the recovery has only just begun. one of the biggest challenges they face is the removal of debris. not just what you see here on land, but also what's under water. 58 houses swept into this bay, more than 1,000 boats, and dozens of cars. in two weeks, they're going to begin the process of removing it all. their hope is to have it all cleaned up in time for the summer. but realistically, city officials say, summers here won't be back to normal for years. this house on the beach is actually a sign of hope. the owners put it on the market right after the storm, and even
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in its current state, brian, it sold. >> stephanie gosk, mantoloking, new jersey. thanks. quick note tonight on the federal budget cuts, called the sequester, set to take effect a week from today. the transportation secretary, ray lahood, said today the cuts will lead to delays at our airports, including big ones in new york, chicago, san francisco, that could ripple across the country. he warns some control towers could be shut down at some less busy airports. now to the news a lot of people woke up to this morning about a so-called smart bomb new breast cancer drug, a first-of-its-kind medication approved today by the fda. it is getting a lot of attention tonight. but this new drug isn't an answer for everyone. we've asked our chief medical editor, dr. nancy snyderman, to join us tonight. we wish there weren't so many caveats, but there are. >> there are caveats. it's a designer drug, of sorts, brian. but the fda today said yes, there is a new cancer drug to treat the most aggressive form of breast cancer.
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a reminder that breast cancer affects more women in this country than any other kind of cancer, other than skin cancer. more than 232,000 new cases diagnosed this year. and a reminder, men get it too. more than 2,000 men are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer. but among one of the most aggressive forms of the disease is something called her2 neu positive breast cancer. and in that case, one in five women will have that genetic mutation and that's where this drug comes in. it's reacceptin plus atoxin. it's called kadcyla and targets this kind of breast cancer. and i want to underscore, it is not a cure. but it's promising in that it extends the life span to about 9.6 months of progression-free disease. that means the disease does not get worse. kadcyla, however, does not come cheap. the maker, genentech told us the estimated cost for the course of the treatment can be up to $94,000.
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so while the headlines are catching, i wanted to underscore that it is not a cure. the price tag is big. and it doesn't mean that it's without its side effects, too. women can still feel pretty lousy. >> a ton of caveats amid the good news. nancy, thanks, as always. >> you bet, brian. overseas now. six days from now pope benedict will step down. then it will be time for the cardinals to elect a new pope, and some american cardinals who will be heading to the conclave suddenly find themselves in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. nbc's anne thompson with us tonight, once again from the vatican with this story. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. as pope benedict finishes his lenten retreat, the vatican is preparing for this historic transition. with many questions, such as who will lead the church, far from answered. a week before pope benedict retires, and there is still no
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clear front-runner to succeed him. however, there is a long shot. new york's cardinal timothy dolan. >> i'll do anything to get you guys in church. >> reporter: praised in catholic circles for his persona. his efforts to revitalize the church and fighting the obama administration's contraception coverage mandate. but this week, dolan was deposed about how he dealt with abusive priests as archbishop of milwaukee. what impact is this going to have on cardinal dolan? >> i think it will have zero impact on cardinal dolan's leadership within the conclave. because he is a known quantity. he is a known man of integrity. he is known as someone who can communicate the catholic faith positively. >> reporter: here in rome, another american cardinal, roger mahoney, the retired archbishop of los angeles, is under fire for his role in moving and shielding abusive priests. not a contender for the papacy,
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mahoney faces his own deposition tomorrow, after which he will come to the vatican to vote for the new pope. this week an italian cardinal told a local newspaper mahoney should stay home, and some american catholics agree. >> all cardinals should be held to the highest standard. anyone whose hands are tainted should refrain from voting. >> reporter: cardinals from ireland and belgium are also mired in scandal, but that's not likely to stop them from voting. the vatican says all cardinals under the age of 80 must vote, unless they are seriously ill or otherwise prevented from traveling. and one of the things we'll be watching for in benedict's final days is whether he moves up the start date of the conclave to choose his successor. brian? >> anne thompson at the vatican in preparation for the vote there. anne, thanks. still ahead for us on a friday night, the amazing rescue mission dedicated to saving the pandas and bringing their population back. but some critics say it's just not worth the cost. and later, on this big
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academy awards weekend, what just might be the best hollywood ending of all.
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giant pandas are among the most high-profile of all endangered species. we've all watched, perhaps contributed to the efforts to save the ones that are left. but even though it might sound shocking, there are now some people asking whether all this effort and money that goes into it is really worth it. our report tonight from nbc's kate snow. >> reporter: it's easy to see why pandas are the poster bears of the conservation movement. they're cute. >> they're very cute. incredibly cute. >> reporter: sarah bexell, a wildlife conservationist at chengdu research base, has been working at the research base of giant panda breeding for 13 years. >> i think that infantile appearance engenders us to just want to protect, protect, protect. >> reporter: with so few pandas left in the wild, scientists here have been breeding pandas in captivity with the hope of
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one day setting them free. it's a high-tech, expensive operation. female pandas are anesthetized and artificially inseminated. and here's the result. these cubs are just 4 months old. >> they're so cute and so little. >> reporter: we were allowed to go into the nursery and watch them sleeping, eating and learning how to walk. it's almost become like an industry. you know, trying to make as many pandas as possible. >> i would say that that's a fair way to explain it. >> reporter: an industry dedicated to saving the panda. what could be wrong with that? >> i think that pouring millions and millions of dollars into one species of all be it, incredibly cute animal is fallacious. >> reporter: chris packham, a wildlife expert for the bbc, is one of a small but growing number of critics who think that with so many species going extinct, it makes no sense trying to save just one. >> i don't want the panda to be extinct, but ultimately, let's not waste vast amounts of money trying to prevent it when we could use that money far more
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efficiently, far more optimally, somewhere else. >> reporter: packham says all those pandas china is breeding will likely spend their lives in zoos, including here in america, since china's industrial growth has left little space for them in the wild. >> and to have them as a zoo animal, to have them only living in captivity? >> no point. >> reporter: but sarah doesn't believe that saving the panda, even in the wild, is a lost cause. >> if we truly cannot save space for giant pandas, how could we ever have hope for any of the others. if we can't save the one we profess to love the most. >> reporter: at chengdu, they're doing everything they can to save this icon of wildlife conservation. kate snow, nbc news, chengdu, china. >> provocative topic. kate snow will have more on this tonight as part of "rock center" at 10:00, 9:00 central here on nbc. we are back in a moment with a woman on a fast track to make history this weekend. ♪
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>> it's "saturday night live"! >> we want to wish a very happy 95th birthday to our friend, don pardo, long-time voice of "saturday night live," still going, still unmistakable. don pardo was first hired by nbc back in 1944. well, she has already made history. danica patrick is the first woman to earn the pole position, first car, first row, for sunday's daytona 500. she long ago became the first woman to win a race in the indycar series. and when i talked to her this week about sunday's race, about the media attention, the pressure, we started about talking -- we started by talking about what her driving means to her fans. especially to little girls with big dreams of going way too fast in a car someday. >> what does this mean for little girls? i heard a story one time that i thought was really neat about a kid saying, "mommy, that's a girl driving that race car." and they got to have that conversation about a -- you know, someone stepping outside of the norm and doing something
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different. >> and while no one can take this achievement from you, then come sunday, what do you do about the not knowing? and by that i mean, as all of us fans of the sport know, as you know better than most, the cars bunch up. kind of the last time you have any choice in the matter is qualifying for the race. you can be the best driver on the field, and yet you're getting either pulled or pushed around the track, and often terrible things happen that happen nowhere near you and aren't your fault. >> yeah, you're absolutely right, brian. somebody asked what the most important thing is for sunday. and i said luck. as you said, you can be the fastest car and be sitting 15th, and someone gets loose in front of you or turns sideways and you have nowhere to go, and your day is over. so first and foremost, luck. >> and we wish her and the 42 other drivers in the field a lot of luck on sunday when nascar's premier event gets under way. up next for us tonight, the
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amazing scene on the red carpet today that kicked off oscar weekend.
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well, the academy awards are sunday night, as you might have heard. in the middle of all those parties and red carpets is a story that could be a film all its own.
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a teenager from afghanistan who just days ago was selling maps on the streets of kabul is right now there in the thick of it all. his story tonight from nbc's kristen dahlgren. >> gentlemen, gentlemen. >> reporter: they say movies have the power to transport you. >> over here, right here. >> reporter: the oscar red carpet is a long way from afghanistan. 14-year-old fawad mohammadi was selling maps on the streets of kabul, struggling to support his mom and seven siblings when american director sam french noticed something in those soulful green eyes. he cast him in "buzkashi boys," a short film about the son of a blacksmith and a street peddler, two friends with big dreams. we were with fawad in afghanistan when he found out that film is an oscar nominee. >> i'm so happy. >> reporter: did you ever think that you would be here?
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>> no. i never think that i would be here. >> reporter: it's been a whirlwind trip so far. autographs, paparazzi, fittings. they can't wait to see the movie stars. >> brad pitt, al pacino, nicolas cage and tom cruise. >> reporter: in between a trip to universal studios and some classic americana -- >> he likes french fries. >> reporter: they can't help but wonder what americans think of their country. >> afghanistan has a lot of talented boys, like maybe us. >> reporter: jawanmard paiz is the son of a famous afghan filmmaker. but for fawad, life may not be that different when he returns home. he only made $1,000 for the film. but he is in school, and dreams of being a pilot someday. if he isn't a famous actor. bigger than brad pitt? >> we would like to work together. >> reporter: two friends with incredible dreams.
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sometimes real life just does it better than the big screen. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, hollywood. >> great story to end on for this friday night for this week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we'll be back on the air later tonight for an all-new "rock center." we, of course, hope to see you right back here monday night. have a good weekend. good night. good evening, everyone. i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm raj mathai. there is new concern tonight from people in mount vau because the epa has discovered higher than expected levels of toxic chemicals in that city. the chemical fumes come from a decades old underground site.
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steven stock joins us now with new details. steven? >> reporter: raj, we're talking about a toxic plume of chemicals a mile and a half long and a half mile wide. a dangerous chemical called tce which can cause cancer in humans, and as we first reported yesterday, the epa now admits that until recently it missed some of these hot spots of tce in the ground water and in the air outside the original confines of this site. for a quarter century, teresa her family have lived here in mountain view near the epa's super fund site but far enough away, or so larue thought, to not impact their health or their lives. >> now with news that hot spots of toxic tce have been detected in the air next door, larue is
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not so sure. she's holding her breath waiting on the results of air and water samples the epa took in and around her home. >> your first thought is your health. you know, is this affecting us? has this affected other neighbors i've had that i know had health issues? >> reporter: for years the environmental protection agency has been monitoring and extra extracting tce from the ground water and soil in and around move moffet field and east to ellis street. >> we cleaned up over 5.25 billion gallons of contaminated ground water and treated over 100,000 pounds of contaminants. >> reporter: but epa officials admit they missed what they are now calling hot spots along evan dale road including tce contamination in two homes, homes located outside the original plume area. >> this

NBC Nightly News
NBC February 22, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Chicago 5, Vatican 5, Afghanistan 4, Benedict 3, China 3, Chengdu 3, Lance Armstrong 3, Brian 2, Nbc News 2, Cardinals 2, Brad Pitt 2, Fda 2, Mahoney 2, Sandy 2, Stephanie Gosk 2, Anne Thompson 2, Cardinal Dolan 2, Kristen Dahlgren 2, Don Pardo 2, John Yang 2
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